Australia: Court Oks Reforms

Australia: Court Oks Reforms

A federal court in Australia has ruled that the Reserve Bank of Australia did not exceed its powers when it instituted reforms on credit cards that came into effect in October.

The ruling was the result of an action brought by Visa and MasterCard against the RBA, which had cut processing fees by 40 percent. Those “interchange” fees had previously been used to pay for points and miles in loyalty programs.

Consumer groups hailed the ruling.

“To date all consumers have been paying for the cost of frequent-flyer points earned by some credit card holders,” Catherine Wolthuizen of the Australian Consumers Association told The Age. “The Reserve Bank says those programs can no longer be subsidized by consumers generally.”

ANZ and Commonwealth Bank have already lifted a range of card fees or reduced reward points to ensure profits are not affected by the reforms.

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